Ma won't pull plug on Nuke 4: KMT official
By Enru Lin,The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- President Ma Ying-jeou believes that the construction on Taiwan's Fourth Nuclear Power Plant must run its course, said a Kuomintang (KMT) lawmaker yesterday.
February 22, 2013, 12:03 am TWN
According to KMT Legislator Lai Shyh-bao (賴士葆), Ma has made it clear to his party that work on the plant must be completed, in compliance with standing contracts.
Ma said that after construction, the central government will evaluate the plant for safety and then decide if the plant can begin commercial operations, according to Lai.
At the president's request, the KMT caucus is proactively promoting an extra budget of up to NT$40 billion for work on the plant, Lai added. The Executive Yuan is preparing a publicity strategy that will allow proponents of nuclear energy to speak out.
Ma's order to push through the extra budget comes as a surprise, said the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) yesterday.
Su Tseng-chang, chairman of the opposition party, said Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) had told him that the two parties could communicate on issues like the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant.
In a telephone conversation on Wednesday, Ma's new premier had emphasized to him the importance of bipartisan communication, according to Su. Jiang pledged to hear different voices on major issues like nuclear energy, media monopolization and pension reform, and the DPP was heartened at the prospect of change, said Su.
“But just as the two parties have begun a dialogue to try solving social problems together, President Ma has turned it all around ... Ma's insistence over the plant is very surprising and very regretful,” said Su.
“When the ruling party displays such an attitude, there is no point in having a dialogue. What's the point of expecting the ruling party to change?”
The DPP opposes continued construction on the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, as it is “against the majority opinion in Taiwan.”
“Ma must not underestimate the determination of the public,” he said.
There are currently three nuclear power plants in Taiwan and a fourth under construction. Work on the fourth began in 1999, but was suspended in Oct. 2000 under the Chen Shui-bian administration. Construction resumed in 2001.
The plant was then slated to go online by 2009, but missed the deadline due to changes in subcontractors, inconsistent project management and public concerns over safety.
Late fees and other expenses related to delays have made the plant Taiwan's priciest incomplete public project to date, with a cost estimated at over NT$270 billion.
The plant is located in Gongliao District of New Taipei City, where former Vice President Annette Lu is collecting signatures for a local referendum to halt construction.